This weekend, the Tampa Bay Rays are using one of their relief pitchers, Sergio Romo, in the first inning of games. I haven’t carefully studied the reasoning for it. At first glance though, regardless of the specific merits, it strikes me as the kind of open-minded thinking in general that I’d want my front office and manager to employ in today’s rapidly changing game. 

During Sunday’s television broadcast, Thom Brennaman and Chris Welsh took their swing at the Rays new strategy. The exit velocity and launch angle left something to be desired. 

Brennaman called it “staggering” and laughed at the Rays. But he didn’t stop at questioning the Rays use of their reliever. Brennaman quickly turned his criticism toward the Tampa Bay organization in general. 

“Really, when Joe Maddon was there and Andrew Friedman was there as General Manager they had that one run, but you look historically at that franchise that started the same year as the Arizona Diamondbacks going back to 1998. I mean, it’s just been an awful franchise outside of really a handful of years when they hit the lottery, did a great job of drafting some players, giving some guys a chance. Joe Maddon was the manager and they got to the playoffs a couple of times.”

Chris Welsh — friend of the Nation, and typically the most open-minded of Reds broadcasters — offered a tepid endorsement of the Rays experiment with Romo because they were “scuffling as bad as they are” and “looking up at basically the entire baseball world.” He added, however: “bottom line, their way is not winning baseball and they are not winning any championships.”

First, let’s do some fact checking. 

• The Tampa Bay Rays had the foresight to hire Joe Maddon as manager and Andrew Friedman as GM. Those guys didn’t fall off trees into Tampa. Those were smart hiring decisions and the Rays ownership should get credit. 

• Over the past 15 seasons (“historically”) the Rays have won 21 more games than the Diamondbacks. 

• The Rays have also made the post-season four times in the past 11 years, including an appearance in the 2008 World Series. They have won 80+ games eight times in the past 11 seasons. 

• Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Reds have made the post-season three times since 2008, without winning a single post-season series. The club hasn’t made a World Series since 1990. The Reds have only won 80+ games three times in the past 11 seasons. Bottom line: The Rays have been a massively more successful organization than the Reds over the last ten years. 

• What’s more, Tampa Bay has accomplished this with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball and while competing in the same division as the big-spending Yankees and Red Sox. Since 2008, Tampa Bay has spent about $300 million less on payroll than the Reds. Yet, over that time, the Rays have won 74 more games – an average of 7 games better per season. If the Rays organization is “awful,” how does one describe the Reds?

• That “one run” with Joe Maddon lasted nine seasons, with the Rays winning 90+ games five times. Compare that to the Reds with Dusty Baker where they won 90+ games three times over six seasons. 

• The Rays, “scuffling as bad as they are” are 22-23. The Reds are 16-32.

Look, there’s more here than Thom Brennaman making a misinformed statement. That’s not news. (Although you kinda wonder what MLB thinks of one team’s broadcaster laughing at and calling another of its organizations “awful.”)

But I think there’s a fair point to be made here, and some constructive criticism to be offered. I’ve said before, while the Reds announcers may not make policy, they sure do condition the fan base for what to expect and value. Broadcasters lay the groundwork for either understanding or ignorance. They choose between promoting acceptance of change or digging in heels. They can offer fair-minded explanations of new concepts or settle for rank mockery. 

Remember when the Reds played in Philadelphia in April and the team’s broadcasters – television and radio – spent the weekend making fun of Gabe Kapler, the Phillies analytically inclined manager? Well, the Phillies, who were 66-96 last year, are 26-18 under Kapler. When the Reds front office gets around to hiring a new manager, Reds fans should hope being open to new ideas is one of the important qualities they seek. 

New front office leadership under Dick Williams and Nick Krall offers a glimmer of hope. That verdict is still out. In the meantime, it’s imperative to push back at knee-jerk opposition to forward thinking. Raise your hand if you think management of the Cincinnati Reds can go down the old conservative path, with a know-nothing message, and turn things around. 

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 86 Comments

  1. I thought that was an odd conversation they had. I didn’t know the stats, but I was sure the Rays had been more of a winner than the Reds had been in the recent past. Thanks for the article. I’m not sure what Thom and Chris were trying to push during that exchange, but it didn’t hit home..

  2. “New front office leadership under Dick Williams and Nick Krall offers a glimmer of hope. ”

    I am squinting like heck and looking through the Hubble telescope and I cannot see that glimmer.
    Heyman reported that the Reds won’t be spending much for a new manager, which comes as no surprise.
    That means no Girardi, no Showalter, no Francona, no Mattingly, and no Ned Yost. John Farrell has no excitement with the fan base. To make a hit with their manager selection they will probably have to go get a bench coach like at Houston or SF. Maybe former Atlanta manager Freddie Gonzalez might be a fit. I just hope the front office looks beyond Barry Larkin, which I don’t think they will. The SF bench coach may be he best bet. Pay any compensation that would be necessary to SF and have the manager in place by Aug. 1.

    • I can’t tell you how GLAD I am that the Reds won’t be hiring the likes of Girardi, Showalter, Mattingly or Yost. I’m not looking for the Reds to make a splashy “hit” by hiring an old-timey established guy locked into the past. The Reds should find a young, open-minded, up-and-comer, someone who has bench experience with an analytically inclined team. The Reds may not be able to talk to anyone working with a team currently until the season is over. I’m patient to wait for that if necessary. There’s no rush to have someone in place by a specific date this year. Get it right.

      • Amen.Can we get beyond the good old boy network and look to the future please.

      • I agree, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Francona would be great but I doubt Cleveland would fire him at season’s end even if they stayed are under .500. Those others are on the hot seat. It just means an inexperienced manager learning on the job again. It would be nice if it is someone who is a coach and not someone right out of the broadcast booth or minor league development office with no managing or coaching experience.
        The SF and Houston bench coaches seem to get mentioned often as being ready to manage.
        The Reds would have to be granted permission to talk to any coach under contract with another team. It can be done. SF’s farm system is a bit weak as we saw when the Billy Hamilton trade rumors surfaced this past winter. They might be agreeable to get a nice prospect in return for hiring their bench coach. It might be a way for SF to groom Bochy’s replacement when he is ready to retire by letting their bench coach get valuable managing experience at another locale until Bochy retires.

  3. The explanation I read for the Ray’s strategy was that if the closer could get the 1-3 guys in the lineup out, which should be the best guys, it would allow the “starter” to avoid that third time pitching to those guys. The normal starter could, in theory, pitch another inning or more without having to face the three best hitters a third time

    • I also assume the closer wasn’t getting enough opportunities to close games, so he needed innings. This makes MUCH more sense than putting Iglesias out there with a 5 run lead which we have seen in the past, because he needed to log innings. At least with the Rays method you are guaranteed to get them high leverage meaningful innings, albeit at the beginning instead of the end. The other requirement I assume, is that a set up guy is available to close in case a save situation presents itself. Makes perfect sense to me.

    • Hmm. That’s interesting (also the first I’ve read the explanation in any detail – thanks). Certainly shows the kind of creative thinking that should be endorsed, whether or not it’s a great idea. I’m not saying the Reds have to load up with gimmicks to win. But the kind of thinking that demonstrates is consistent with what I think it will take to be a good (or better) manager with lineups, playing time and tactical decision making going forward. Better to embrace consideration of new ideas instead of lowest-common-denominator mockery that we’ve gotten from certain announcers. Scoffing at change isn’t a winning path for the Reds.

      • What he said was part of it, but they came up with the idea based also on their lefty/righty lineup construction, where Romo would have the biggest advantage in the first inning of those games.
        Love outside the box thinking…

      • I’ve read that a large part of the Rays thinking was that the first inning of a game is producing the highest percentage of runs in a game. So why not have your best available pitcher pitch to the top of the lineup, reduce the amount of runs scored, and give your team a possible advantage. It just so happened that the Rays weakest starting pitchers were scheduled those two days that Sergio Romo pitched. It also matched up perfectly with the Angels right handed heavy lineup and Romo’s ability to get right handed batters out. The Rays have said that they won’t necessarily repeat having Romo start back to back games in the future, they also wouldn’t eliminate the possibility of doing it again.

        I was impressed at the reasoning and… it was backed up by solid statistical analysis. Not a “gut” or “darts on a wall” mentality that is often applied. Welcome to 21st Century sports.

        • espn.com/mlb has an article on this (Kevin Cash keeps thinking outside the box with use of Sergio Romo).

          Separately, numerous items such as this one are why I am happy to donate to redlegnation. I just did.

        • Thanks for the added detail. That sounds pretty well reasoned.

          Also worth adding, for people who don’t follow the Rays closely, that Sergio Romo isn’t the team’s closer. In fact, he hasn’t been even one of the best three or four relievers for the Rays. The equivalent for the Reds would be having David Hernandez pitch the first inning.

          • Ah my bad, well that makes even more sense I suppose. LaRussa used to do this on days where he had no decent starting pitcher available, he would go with a the reliever committee to get thru the game. LaRussa always did stuff outside the box, and considering Jocketty comes from that club you would think we would embrace more of that sort of thing. At least they finally started batting Billy 9th which I am sure LaRussa would have done years ago if he was our manager.

  4. Didn’t the Rays split those games? Maybe we need to get some forward thinking broadcasters? It would certainly help watching these awful games.

  5. If you start Iglesias and let him pitch two innings. Then Roman or Mahle can come in and hopefully face the bottom of the order. If each goes 4 innings, then you only have three innings to cover with your bullpen. With Lorenzen coming back and Hughes at the Back End that would be pretty decent strategy.

    • Again, just spitballing. But what about using Michael Lorenzen that way? Have him throw one or two innings to start a game.

      • Perhaps.. but I think Iglesias is worth consideration too, he simply isn’t getting enough opportunities to close. And protecting a 3 run lead is not nearly as important as preserving a 0-0 tie to start a game in my mind. I do think the Rays are on to something here.

        • Totally agree. Use your best pitcher on the staff – Iglesias – in a guaranteed situation of high leverage. Start off half your games if his arm can hold up – 81 games x 2 innings each and you have 162 high leverage innings against the other team’s best hitters. Or target 60 games and hope for 3 innings each. Hope for Castillo, Mahle, and Romano once he finds his ‘out’ pitch, to close the door on the following 6 or 7 innings.

      • And hit 6th.

        • Scratch that . Might make more sense to use this to allow Lorenzen to transition to ” start” if he comes in the game and hits 8/9 hole and pitches innings 3-5/6 to start then innings 2-7 as year goes and you have a hitting pitcher to save a bench guy until the late innings. . Can manage innings as well for pitchers . Garrett could pitch 2 innings to start against lefty dominant teams.

          • My question is whether that strategy is sustainable, since there’s really no reason to believe that the starters are going to pitch more than 5 or 6 innings. Maybe it would require an even larger bullpen to cover the work load, and that might be okay.

      • I think it is a good idea regardless of which back end guy you use, Hernandez, Lorenzen, Hughes, Iglesias, or if you are facing a left-handed stacked lineup near the front end then Garrett. It is just a thought, the Reds certainly are not going to try it. But it is a very interesting thought.

      • If he is throwing extremely well for one or two innings to start the game, why not leave him in to keep pitching for at least three and four? My philosophy has been that if a pitcher is pitching well keep him in.

  6. The Reds must lose the dinosaurs…WJ/BC in order to change how they approach problem resolution. The cardinals did when they jettisoned WJ.

  7. The Reds need to rid themselves of the dinosaurs to change the thinking. WJ/BC

    • 1.
      Bob Castellini isn’t necessarily living up to his 2006 promises… https://buff.ly/2ICTFWz via: @dotsonc #Reds
      This tweet says it all. The head of the snake is the problem.
      Mancuso writes, “New front office leadership under Dick Williams and Nick Krall offers a glimmer of hope.”
      Mancuso also indicated in a previous post that “WALT” is who Bob C. trusts by default.
      Until someone publicly goes after “Bob C.” nothing will change. I dealt with individual family business owners (legal and contracts) for 20 plus years and in the end, no matter how the organization was set up, there was only one real decision maker. Whatever is wrong with the Reds, the trail leads back to “Bob C.”
      From Cincinnati Business Courier Mar 22, 2013
      “Jack Wyant, managing director of Blue Chip Venture Co. and a Reds shareholder said the Bob C.“ has a very favorable view of the Reds’ economics.””
      Team value has gone from $270 Mil to over a billion today. Advertising and TV contracts makes winning and attendance secondary.

      • Oops!! The $270 Mil number is what Bob C. paid for the Reds. Team value at the time was $425 Mil.

        • Value of anything is only what someone else is willing to pay. This sports bubble will eventually pop and valuations will begin to reflect actual cash flows. Lately the market has only reflected the trophy wife value, with the bored wealthy like Steve Ballmer overpaying drastically to enter the NBA.

          Unless newer, larger billionaires are created going forward, this will not happen. Technology in the long run results in deflation, and prices will eventually go to near zero as humans master efficient energy-matter conversion over the next couple hundred years.

    • Agree 100%

  8. My fandom is really having a struggle right now. I want my team to be like the Astros and Rays, always pushing the limits, but it is increasingly becoming clear the Reds are the blow hard coal baron in the room talking about the past and saying numbers are for nerds. My real sympathy is for Chris Welsh, I can choose not to listen, he has to find a way to get around all thoms crap without calling him a moron. Maybe just a bit more veterany grit and we will get there.

    • Well said. Don’t mind Welsh or even Brantley, at least he understands baseball. I think Thom forgets he’s even announcing a baseball game. Just goes on rants trying to emulate his Daddy.

    • I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who can’t stand “Thom”… He rambles on and tries to be “controversial” and just comes off as an idiot…

      • And Thom Brennaman is just as lost announcing NFL games.

      • Thanks guys for opening this can of worms with Thom. At first I liked him, but he is NOT his Dad. You notice when he talks about a college, he always has to say what town the school is in. Or a noteworthy player from Reds history, has to mention the town and middle game if the player. Johnny Lee Bench from Binger, OK. I do not know who is more intolerable; Thom or Jessica Menendez on ESPN. Sometimes he makes a good point, but getting farther and fewer times.

        • Jessica Menendez drives me nuts. Not as nuts as Thom but nuts nonetheless. She knows more about the actual game of baseball than Thom does however.

      • He’s very emphatic, though.

    • I was thinking the same thing watching the other day. Thom is probably a really good guy. But he is a terrible announcer. Thom does a good job calling football. When he has no local rooting intrest in the teams he does a solid job.

    • A few weeks ago, the radio and TV broadcasts rotated anchors. I believe Thom was conducting the radio broadcasts. Chris Welsh and Jim Day were the announcers for the Reds’ TV broadcasts that weekend. During two separate broadcasts (a Thursday and Friday), Day and Welsh jokingly and in good nature remarked upon how Welsh was free to speak on analytics and more modern baseball thinking since Thom was doing radio the next couple days.

      Despite the good-natured remarks, I could not help but feel we as the audience were being prevented from hearing relevant perspectives, analysis, and insights as provided by Welsh for fear of Thom continuing to grind an axe against newer ways of thinking or analytics. It is one thing to advocate a perspective/critique the other perspective, but quite another to hijack the broadcast so as to shut down discussion of a perspective you do not like/agree with. It certainly does the Reds a disservice as their fans are not exposed to all the relevant ideas and may not understand the utility of engaging in more forward looking methods.

      • I noticed the same thing. Chris was joking, perhaps, but the joke had a distinct edge.

  9. I also don’t want a big name manager because I think the baseball manager is the least important place to spend money on. I would much rather see a young person. I honestly think that any logical person who deeply follows baseball would have done a similar job if not better than Bryan Price. And I also think that Riggleman has been way better than Price. I know probably no one on here wants Riggs to be the coach next year but I mean he hasn’t been nearly as bad as Price. Not saying I really want him I’m just saying I think the manager doesn’t really push the needle all that much.

    • Always going to be the debate on how much difference manager makes.For me it’s does he put his team in the best position to win the game.Riggs goes for it when he has a chance to win.

    • I will say that you do need to get a guy with enough credibility or enough charisma to actually get players to respect and listen.

  10. Andrew Friedman is now President, Baseball Operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    The old arrangement was….wealthy teams do traditional things, teams with less money play Moneyball, do quirky things to even the competitive playing field.

    Now that Friedman has a virtually unlimited budget, with his non-traditional thinking…the Dodgers are even more powerful over the long term (they have stumbled to date so far this season).

    Their creative use of the new 10-day DL last season, effectively giving them a 8/9 man rotation is just one of the examples of Friedman fusing Tampa Bay creativity with Dodgers $.

    For the Reds, it’s OK that ownership family members are in charge of business operations as well as baseball operations…if they encourage change and creative thinking in those departments.

    I don’t think we have seen it yet. And, as Steve writes, it is needed more urgently than ever.

    • I agree, into the 13th season as principal owner we have not seen BC encourage the Team’s operations to be creative thinkers. Perhaps by the 20th season he’ll unleash a torrent of Outside the Box Thinking to creating a roster and managing on field situations?

  11. Right handed reliever Ted Power started Game 6 of the 1990 NLCS for the Pirates hoping the Reds would load their lineup with left handed hitters. #ItDidntHelp

  12. Great article. Whether or not using a reliever in the first inning sometimes is a good idea, the Reds broadcasters should absolutely be held to a higher standard in terms of getting the basic facts right.

    The Rays under Maddon were one of the best stories in baseball for nearly a decade. The sentiment Brenneman expressed is the same thing that kept teams from picking up on the principles in Moneyball for s long; i.e. if you haven’t won the World Series, what’s the point?

    The Rays created a consistent winning team, in the biggest spending division, with one of the lowest budgets. As a Reds fan I would take anything approaching that level of success every day.

  13. What bugs me the most about the Reds refusal to think outside the box is that they have a roster that is so perfectly suited for that kind of flexibility. They need to find innings for the young pitchers they already have, plus Stephenson, Reed, and Finnegan. Think if they used, say Amir Garrett Or Cody Reed as that kind of “opener” against a team with a left handed heavy line up and maybe Lorenzen with a right hand heavy line up.
    Heck, look at someone like Sal Romano. Teams are hitting .241/.326/.367 the first time they face him and .284/.326/.531 the second. Let him pitch the first 1-3 innings, or better yet, pitch until his spot in the order is due up and then pinch hit for him. You can maximize his innings and you eliminate one pitcher AB per game.
    The only thing I am going to disagree with is the glimmer of hope you see in the new front office. Dick Williams is in his position because of his last name and Nick Krall basically just stuck around long enough. The Reds didn’t go do any giant search to find the best and brightest. They hired from within because they’ll put up with Bob C and Walt J’s meddling. Those two are ultimately still calling the shots.

  14. Speaking of the “Old Boy Network”, Thom Brennanman got his job solely based on his last name. He is the worst on TV. The Reds games are painful enough but to listen to his “analysis” is like salt in the wound. He doesn’t have a clue what is going on most of the time. Chris Welsh seems to spend most of his time explaining baseball to Thom…..

    • While Thom certainly had doors opened because of his last name that would not be afforded to the likes of you (presumably) or I, he at least went to school with the intent of working in TV/radio. Dick Williams was literally a bored rich kid you probably dabbled in a little bit of Fangraphs reading and was then handed a GM job on a silver plate. The one thing he is pretty good at is PR, because he hasn’t done a single thing to warrant the level of praise he seems to get.

      • Williams was actually an investment banker and worked on the financial side for the George W Bush presidential re-election campaign. He is also a graduate of RLN’s founder’s own University of Virginia. He was an Echols Scholar and is a very bright guy. He may have had a rich upbringing and he may have been handed the GM job because he’s the son of part of the ownership group but I wouldn’t call him a “bored rich kid”.

  15. Excellent article and comments.

  16. It’s really low hanging fruit finding bass-akwards baseball thinking from a Brennaman. That said, good article. I immediately thought about how stupid they sounded ripping Kapler in the beginning of the year and sure enough as I was finishing the article that was covered as well. We would be fortunate to have the Rays front office send us a few of their interns to help out our guys.

  17. Here’s another article breaking down the Rays use of Romo. It’s from Travis Sawchik at FanGraphs. He’s one of the best.

    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-rays-have-innovated-again/

  18. My thoughts when the two yutzes were laughing at The Rays was they were in a World Series a few years back. Welsh is no better than Thom. They both fit the organization. I tend to listen to the visiting teams announcers but yesterday decided to listen to the two wingnuts. Anybody who thinks this team is close to making the playoffs is higher than a kite.

  19. Good piece, Steve. I continue to believe that the Rays are a model for smaller-market franchises like the Reds. Making fun of them when they’ve been much more successful than we have makes no sense.

  20. Steve is spot-on. Forget the good-old-boy network and get a younger guy with energy, experience and boldness. If Williams is smart, he’s canvassing right now. If a deal can be made, get him here in August so he can begin his own evaluations of the players.

    • Sadly, Williams is a product of that good-old-boy nepotistic network and has very little desire in rocking the boat I would imagine.

  21. It seems like it trades one problem for another. It’s been a desire for many fans to see their teams be more creative on how they use their bullpens in final 3 innings. Now this is creative, but it does lead to less flexibility and even more defined roles in other areas, rather than less.

    Additionally, you would need a very deep bullpen, perhaps even shortening the bench. Seems like this would be difficult to make work well in the NL?

    It’s not outlandish, but reducing it to practice over 162 is the question.

    • I believe the Rays said they have 3 dependable starters….Snell, Archer, and someone? The pen might start for the other 2 guys. In the Reds case….the pen is coming in no later then the 5th-6th inning with Homer and Romano anyway? In Homers case….it might double their TV ratings. Most Reds fans can just turn the game off after the 2nd inning instead of the 1st.

    • Bullpen use could be the same. Instead of using it in innings 7-9, they could use them in innings 1,8 and 9.

  22. The glimmer of hope from this front office with Bob Castellini in charge does not give me much hope that the Reds will actually do a national search for a young forward looking manager. I expect one of the experienced ‘old boys’ will get the job such as John Farrell or else one who’s not tuned in to the modern analytic baseball world. Cincinnati and the metro area is a much more diverse place that it was years ago, but with the current ownership the old conservative path will be tough not to be followed.

  23. Steve, I was watching when Thom went on his Rays rant. I was 90% sure that the Rays had had a much better run of late than the Reds. Sure enough your article proves it.
    Outstanding article Steve.
    You do a top notch job. As does every writer on this site.

  24. Another interesting comment was that Romo would have stayed in for the 2nd inning on Saturday, but for the Rays grand slam in the top of the 2nd. He did pitch into the 2nd of the Sunday game. Very

  25. Yankees just sent OF Clint Frazier back down to AAA. He’s only 23 and hitting .362 at AAA (17-47) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 3 HRs. Thats the kind of RH power bat that the Reds really need. Their pen hasn’t been as good as last year and they’re obviously close enough to make moves to get over the top. Perhaps Iggy gets it done….or even Iggy/Disco and or Scooter for Frazier and other prospects! If they don’t get some good RH bats into the lineup then they’ll never put up enough runs to be competitive!

    • I think the Yankees are more likely looking for starting pitching. The Reds have basically none.

  26. Just want to echo the applause for this post, Steve. It deserves to be picked up and disseminated. And my kingdom to have had someone confront Thom with these facts.

  27. *sigh* I actually get tired of RN’s disdain for our Red’s broadcasters.

    • You know David, if they stuck to baseball and the action on the field and didn’t pontificate so much stating their opinions as fact, there woulnd’t be problems with them at all. Thom Brenneman for example is great at calling the action on the field. Marty’s age is catching up with him but he still has his moments of being a brilliant play-by-play announcer.

  28. Not a fan of Thom Brenneman – though rather him than George Grande. But I am a fan of Chris Welsh. He’s fairer and more analytical than most color guys, knows his baseball and the Reds, and is pretty much never guilty of the dopey digressions and soap boxing that Thom trots out all the time. Give me Jim Day on play by play with Welsh as analyst and I’ll never complain about a Reds announcer again.

    • I like Jim Day in his main role a lot, but not a fan when he takes over for Thom. Yes Thom says some dumb things, but I couldn’t talk for 3+ hours straight without eventually saying something stupid.

      Welsh is my favorite too, but personally, I wouldn’t want two announcers that thought the exact same way.

  29. For the record, on these very pages in the spring of 2016, I proposed doing pretty much exactly what the Rays did. Patrick Jeter was about the only guy who liked the possibility.

    It guarantees that the tough-to-hit reliever gets into the game, in an important inning, and gives you a better chance to get the first lead. My theory would have been to allow the reliever to go maybe 2 innings, then turn it over to the “starter” to go as long as he could. It does require some bullpen depth, but that is occurring naturally with 13-men staffs.

    Now, if I can get a team to employ my theory that left field is an important defensive position, one that ideally would have a guy with a booming arm playing it.

    • Your theory and the Tampa pitching plan has something going for it because the first couple innings of a game, especially the first, often predict the winner. In terms of booming arms, the Red’s outfield has had an absence of such since the departure of Jay Bruce.

      • Not certain about the definition of “booming,” but Duvall and Hamilton throw well, and get lots of assists, which is one of the benefits of good outfield arms. I agree about left field: It’s not as though balls don’t get hit there, so why have statuary playing it?

        • Duvall has a much better arm than I thought. Hamilton’s arm isn’t particularly good. He gets a lot of assists partly because teams try for the extra base on him. On the plus side, he makes up for not having a particularly good arm by getting rid of the ball very quickly, showing off his former infielder chops in the process. He also makes very accurate throws in general and that’s sometimes more important than just having a strong arm.

  30. Thom sucks as a broadcaster.

    Every game it seems he has some sort of agenda he wants to spew that hasn’t been researched or well thought out. After the 6th inning it’s like Thom forgets there’s even a game going on in front of him. About half the time is has nothing to do with the Reds either. It’s just him bitching about something and Chris Welsh left to try to pull it all together with the game. His job is to tell people what is going on in the game, balls, strikes etc., but instead it’s just an old man rambling on.

    It’s making the games hard to watch with the volume on. Honestly, I’d rather Thom go than Brian Price.

  31. And Thom isn’t even old

  32. “People who live in the past generally are afraid to compete in the present. I’ve got my faults, but living in the past is not one of them. There’s no future in it.”

    –Sparky Anderson

  33. I guess the questions are:

    1) How do we call them out on that sort of garbage? How do we get the actual facts out? Do they even care to know the facts?

    2) How do we let the Reds organization know that their broadcasters are spewing fiction or their own perception as fact?

    3) How do we talk to Williams and/or Krall and help them understand that if they are trying to go in an analytic-driven direction with the club, their broadcasters are poisoning the fan base?

    I pretty much straddle the traditional vs modern line. I’m not all-in on analytics but ignoring real data or worse yet, mocking it is foolish. The data may not be perfect but when it isn’t matching up with our perceptions we at least need to acknowledge that perhaps our perceptions are wrong. We need to dig and try to find out why the data isn’t agreeing with what we perceive. Maybe the data isn’t taking into account all the factors or perhaps the algorithm for figuring it out is wrong. More likely however, is that our perception is wrong.

  34. Don’t mess up a good argument with your facts! The Reds are, quite possibly, the worst run organization in baseball. If Thom did a fair analysis of his employer, they would soon become his former employer.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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